The best Zelda games: Eurogamer editors’ Option

You’ve already had your say on the best Zelda games because we celebrate the series’ 30th anniversary – and you did a mighty fine job also, even though I’m fairly convinced A Link to the Past belongs at the head of any record – so now it’s our turn. We asked the Eurogamer editorial staff […]

You’ve already had your say on the best Zelda games because we celebrate the series’ 30th anniversary – and you did a mighty fine job also, even though I’m fairly convinced A Link to the Past belongs at the head of any record – so now it’s our turn. We asked the Eurogamer editorial staff to vote for their favorite Zelda games (although Wes abstained since he doesn’t know what a Nintendo is) and underneath you will find the whole top ten, along with some of our own musings. Can we get the matches in their rightful order? Probably not…


How brightly contradictory that one of the greatest first games on Nintendo’s 3DS is a 2D adventure sport, and that among the most adventurous Zelda entrances would be the one which closely aped one of its predecessors.

It really helps, of course, the template has been raised from one of the best games in the show and, by extension, one of the finest matches of all time. A Link Between Worlds takes that and positively sprints with it, running free into the familiar expanse of Hyrule using a newfound liberty.

In giving you the capability to rent any one of Link’s well-established tools from the away, A Link Between Worlds broke free of the linear progress that had shackled previous Zelda games; that has been a Hyrule which was no more defined by an invisible route, but one which provided a sense of discovery and completely free will that was starting to feel absent from previous entries.Read about zelda ds roms At website The feeling of experience so precious to the series, muffled in the past several years by the ritual of reproduction, was well and truly revived. MR

9. Spirit Tracks

An unfortunate side-effect of this simple fact that more than 1 generation of players has increased up with Zelda and refused to let go has become an insistence – during the show’ adolescence, at any rate – which it grow up with them. That led to some interesting areas in addition to some silly tussles within the series’ direction, as we’ll see later on this list, but sometimes it threatened to depart Zelda’s original constituency – that you know, kids – behind.

Thankfully, the mobile games have always been there to look after younger players, along with Spirit Tracks for the DS (currently available on Wii U Virtual Console) is Zelda at its chirpy and adorable. Though superbly designed, it is not a particularly distinguished game, being a relatively hasty and gimmicky follow-up to Phantom Hourglass that reproduces its construction and flowing stylus control. However, it’s such zest! Link utilizes a little train to get around and its own puffing and tooting, along with an inspired folk music soundtrack, place a brisk pace for your adventure. Then there’s the childish, tactile joy of driving that the train: setting the adjuster, yanking the whistle and scribbling destinations on your own map.

Best of all is that, for once, Zelda is along for the ride. Connect has to rescue her body, but her soul is using him as a companion, occasionally able to own enemy soldiers and play with the brutal heavy. Both enjoy an innocent childhood love, and you would be hard pressed to consider another game that has captured the teasing, blushing strength of a preteen crush also. Inclusive and sweet, Spirit Tracks remembers that kids have feelings too, and may show grownups a thing or two about love. OW

8. Ghost Hourglass

Inside my head, at least, there has long been a raging debate going on regarding whether Link, Hero of Hyrule, is really any good using a boomerang. He’s been wielding the loyal, banana-shaped bit of wood because his very first experience, but in my experience it’s simply been a pain in the arse to use.

The exception which proves the rule, nevertheless, is Phantom Hourglass, where you draw the route for your boomerang from the hand. Poking the stylus in the touch screen (that, in an equally beautiful transfer, is the way you control your own sword), you draw an exact flight map for the boomerang and it just… goes. No more faffing about, no clanging into columns, just simple, simple, improbably responsive boomerang trip. It was when I used the boomerang at Phantom Hourglass that I realised this game could just be something special; I immediately fell in love with all the remainder.

Never mind that many of the puzzles are derived from setting off a change and then getting from Point A to Point B as soon as possible. Never mind that watching a few game back to refresh my memory lent me powerful flashbacks to the hours spent huddling over the display and grasping my DS like I needed to throttle it. Never mind I did want to throttle my DS. The purpose is that Phantom Hourglass had bits of class that stay – and I’m going to go out on a limb here – totally unrivalled in the remainder of the Legend of Zelda series. JC

7. Skyward Sword

It bins the recognizable Zelda overworld and pair of discrete dungeons by hurling three huge areas in the participant which are continuously rearranged. It’s a beautiful game – one I am still hoping will soon be remade in HD – whose watercolour visuals render a shimmering, dream-like haze over its blue heavens and brush-daubed foliage. Following the grimy, Lord of this Rings-inspired Twilight Princess, this is the Zelda series re-finding its toes. I can defend many of recognizable criticisms levelled at Skyward Sword, such as its overly-knowing nods to the remainder of the show or its slightly forced origin narrative that unnecessarily retcons familiar elements of this franchise. I can also get behind the bigger general quantity of area to explore when the match continually revitalises all its three regions so successfully.

I could not, unfortunately, ever get along with the match’s Motion Plus controls, which required one to waggle your Wii Remote to be able to do combat. It turned into the boss fights against the brilliantly eccentric Ghirahim into infuriating struggles using technologies. I remember one mini-game at the Knight Academy where you needed to throw something (pumpkins?) Into baskets which made me anger stop for the remainder of the evening. On occasion the motion controls functioned – that the flying Beetle thing pretty much constantly found its mark but if Nintendo was forcing players to leave behind the reliability of a well-worn control strategy, its replacement needed to work 100 percent of their moment. TP

6. Twilight Princess

When Ocarina of Time came out in November 1998, I had been ten years of age. I was also pretty awful in Zelda games.

When Twilight Princess rolled around, I was at college and something in me – most likely a profound love of procrastination – was prepared to test again. This time, it was worked. I remember day-long moves on the couch, huddling underneath a blanket in my cold apartment and only poking my hands out to flap about with the Wii distant during battle. Resentful looks were thrown in the pile of books I knew I needed to skim over the next week. Then there was the glorious morning when my then-girlfriend (now fiancée) woke me up with a gentle shake, so asking’can I see you play Zelda?’

Twilight Lady is, honestly, attractive. There is a fantastic, brooding feeling; yet the gameplay is enormously diverse; it has got a beautiful art fashion, one that I wish they’d kept for only one more match. It’s also got some of the top dungeons in the series – I know this because since then I’ve been in a position to go back and mop up the current names I missed – Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask and Wind Waker – and also love myself doing this. That is why I’ll always love Twilight Princess – it is the game that made me click with Zelda. JC

5. Majora’s Mask

However, some of its greatest moments have come when it turned out its own framework, left Hyrule and Zelda herself and inquired what Link may perform next. Even the self-referential Link’s Awakening was one, and this N64 sequel to Ocarina of Time just another. It required a much more radical tack: weird, dark, and structurally experimental.

Though there’s loads of humor and adventure, Majora’s Mask is suffused with despair, regret, and also an off-kilter eeriness. Some of this comes out of its admittedly awkward timed structure: that the moon is falling on the Earth, that the clock is ticking and you can not stop it, just reposition and start again, a little stronger and more threatening each moment. Some of it stems in the antagonist, the Skull Kid, who is no villain but an innocent having a gloomy story who has given in to the corrupting impact of their titular mask. Some of this stems from Link himself: a kid again but with the increased man of Ocarina still somewhere within himhe rides rootlessly to the land of Termina like he has got no better place to be, far from the hero of legend.

Largely, it comes in the townsfolk of Termina, whose lives Link observes moving helplessly towards the close of earth as well as their appointed paths, over and over again. Regardless of an unforgettable, most surreal finish, Majora’s Mask’s main storyline isn’t one of the series’ strongest. However, these bothering Groundhog Day subplots concerning the stress of regular life – reduction, love, family, job, and passing, always passing – find the show’ writing at its absolute best. It is a depression, compassionate fairytale of this regular which, with its ticking clock, wants to remind one that you simply can not take it with you. OW

4. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

If you’ve had children, you’ll be aware that there’s incredibly unexpected and touching moment if you are doing laundry – stick with me here – and these very small T-shirts and trousers first start to become in your washing. Someone new has come to dwell with you! Someone implausibly small.

This is one of The Wind-Waker’s greatest tricks, I think. Link was young before, but now, with the toon-shaded change in art direction, he actually looks youthful: a Schulz toddler, with huge head and small legs, venturing out among Moblins and pirates as well as those mad birds that roost across the clifftops. Link is tiny and vulnerable, and thus the experience surrounding him sounds all the more stirring.

The other fantastic tip has a great deal to do with those pirates. “What is the Overworld?” This has been the standard Zelda query because Link to the Past, however with the Wind-Waker, there didn’t appear to be one: no alternative dimension, no shifting between time-frames. Instead, you had a wild and briney sea, reaching out in all directions, an infinite blue, flecked with abstracted breakers. The sea was controversial: so much hurrying back and forth across a huge map, a lot of time spent crossing. But look at what it brings with it! It brings pirates and sunken treasures and ghost ships. It attracts underwater grottoes along with a castle awaiting you in a bubble of air back on the seabed.

On top of that, it attracts that unending sense of renewal and discovery, one challenge down along with another anticipating, as you jump from your boat and race up the sand towards the next thing, your tiny legs glancing through the surf, and your huge eyes fixed on the horizon. CD


Link’s Awakening is near-enough that a fantastic Zelda game – it has a huge and secret-laden overworld, sparkling dungeon layout and unforgettable characters. It’s also a fever dream-set side-story with villages of speaking animals, side-scrolling places starring Mario enemies and a giant fish who participates the mambo. This was my very first Zelda experience, my entry point to the series and the match where I judge every other Zelda name. I absolutely love it. Not only was it my very first Zelda, its own greyscale world was among the very first adventure games I truly played. I can still visualise much of it now – that the cracked flooring from the cave from the Lost Woods, the stirring music because you enter the Tal Tal Mountains, the shopkeeper electrocuting into an immediate death in case you dared return to his store after stealing.

No Master Sword. And while it feels like a Zelda, even after enjoying many of the others, its own quirks and personalities set it apart. Link’s Awakening packs an astonishing amount onto its small Game Boy capsule (or Game Boy Color, in the event that you played its DX re-release). TP

2. The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past

Bottles are OP in Zelda. Those humble glass containers may reverse the tide of a struggle if they have a potion or even better – a fairy. If I had been Ganon, I would postpone the wicked plotting and also the measurement rifting, and I would just place a solid fortnight into travelling Hyrule from top to base and smashing any glass bottles that I came across. After that, my terrible vengeance are all the more terrible – and there would be a sporting chance I might be able to pull it off too.

All of that means that, as Link, a jar can be a true benefit. Real treasure. Some thing to put in your watch by. I believe there are four glass bottles Link to the Past, every one making you that little more powerful and that little bolder, buying you confidence from dungeoneering and strike points at the center of a bruising boss experience. I can’t recall where you receive three of those bottles. But I can recall where you receive the fourth.

It’s Lake Hylia, and if you are like me, it is late in the match, with the major ticket items collected, that lovely, genre-defining second at the top of the hill – where a single map becomes two – taken care of, along with handfuls of streamlined, ingenious, infuriating and educational dungeons raided. Late game Link to the Past is all about sounding out every last inch of the map, which means working out the way both similar-but-different versions of Hyrule fit together.

And there’s a difference. A gap from Lake Hylia. An gap hidden by means of a bridge. And underneath it, a guy blowing smoke rings with a campfire. He feels like the greatest key in all Hyrule, and the prize for uncovering him would be a glass vessel, ideal for keeping a potion – along with a fairy.

Link to the Past seems to be an impossibly smart game, fracturing its map into two dimensions and requesting you to distinguish between them, holding both arenas super-positioned on your mind as you solve one, vast geographical puzzle. In fact, however, somebody could probably replicate this layout when they had sufficient pencils, enough quadrille paper, enough time and energy, and when they were smart and determined enough.

The best reduction of the digital age.

However, Link to the Past isn’t merely the map – it’s the detailing, as well as the figures. It’s Ganon and his evil plot, but it’s also the man camping out beneath the bridge. Perhaps the entire thing is a bit like a jar, then: the container is equally crucial, but what you’re really after is the stuff that’s inside . CD

1. Ocarina of Time

Where would you begin with a match since momentous as Ocarina of Time? Maybe with the Z-Targeting, a solution to 3D battle so simple you barely notice it is there. Or perhaps you talk about an open world that is touched by the light and color cast by an internal clock, even where villages dance with action by day before being captured by an eerie lull at nighttime. How about the expressiveness of that ocarina itself, a superbly analogue device whose music was conducted with the newest control afforded by the N64’s pad, which notes bent wistfully at the push of a stick.

Maybe, however, you simply focus in on the moment itself, a perfect photo of video games emerging aggressively from their own adolescence just as Connect is throw so suddenly into a grownup world. What is most remarkable about Ocarina of Time is the way that it came thus fully-formed, the 2D adventuring of previous entrances transitioning into three measurements as gracefully as a pop-up publication folding quickly into life.

As a result of Grezzo’s exceptional 3DS remake it has retained much of its verve and impact, and even putting aside its technical accomplishments it’s an adventure that still ranks among the series’ finest; emotional and uplifting, it has touched with all the bittersweet melancholy of growing up and leaving your childhood behind. From the story’s conclusion Connect’s youth and innocence – and this of Hyrule – is heroically revived, but once this most radical of reinventions, video games will never be the same again.

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